Posts Tagged ‘adoption’

Crisis Pregnancy Is Age-Old: Adoption’s Beginnings

Monday, August 13th, 2018

 

Adoption Insight by Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

I published two Adoption Insight booklets exactly twenty years ago, and how happy I would be if the contents of those booklets had become obsolete in that time. Oh how I wish they were relics of an outdated, reformed adoption system. Alas, that isn’t the case. Women facing crisis pregnancy is a situation as old as human history.

Volume III of Adoption Insight was going to be titled, Nurturing This Untimely Miracle ~ Insights for the Mother with a Crisis Pregnancy. It was going to dispel common myths, like the misguided one that says,  if you are planning or even considering adoption for your baby, it is your “job” to begin the process of detaching now, while you’re pregnant… that it will make it easier to separate when the time comes. (more…)

The Primal Wound: Separation Trauma IS Trauma…At Any Age

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Adoption Insight by Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

As a society we are rightly outraged by the separation of immigrant parents and children. That these children will suffer emotional wounds due to this separation, amidst such chaotic circumstances, is collectively, instinctively assumed. But where is the outrage—or even a drip of compassion—over the separation of mothers and babies in the case of adoption?

This glaring double standard regarding separation trauma was one of the forces that impelled Nancy Verrier to begin writing about this elephant in the room. You see, by the 1980s it was increasingly accepted by many progressive doctors and theorists that separation of mother and newborn was best avoided in general. But there was a cultural blind spot when it came to adoption!

[In case you’re new to this Adoption Insight 25th Anniversary situation, all year I’m reissuing my trove of adoption articles I wrote in the 90s. Usually I include a brief introduction and/or a bit of never-before-shared behind-the-scenes scoop on how it came to be. Today’s introduction is an article in itself… but you will in fact come to the original article below, “In Appreciation of The Primal Wound.”]

Honesty in adoption—the last American taboo?

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The Reunion with my Birthmother

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

 

Adoption Insight by Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for PeaceThis article was published in the adoption magazine Roots & Wings in 1993 about my adoption reunion with my birthmother. (I know, “adoption reunion” is an oddly over-descriptive term to use in an article in an adoption series. Blame the tyranny of SEO!)

In the spirit of truth and authenticity, I’m reissuing this cache of 90s articles as I wrote them them, with minimal changes. If there’s some embarrassing punctuation or a cringingly awful mistake, I will make those corrections. If there is a glaringly obsolete reference or fact, I will either update it or clarify it [with a bracketed comment like this.] And I may bend a wee bit to the aforementioned tyranny of SEO, so that as many people will find this article online as possible.

Hmm, what “inside scoop” can I give you on this one? (more…)

Adoption Slogans or Honest Talk About Adoption?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Adoption Insight by Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

Of all the articles I wrote about adoption, this remained one of my favorites. In a short piece it touches upon many essentials related to adoption’s psychological issues. It was published in the California Association of Social Workers quarterly publication.

The impetus for this piece was a cover article in the L.A. Times Sunday Magazine about hopeful prospective parents’ experiences with (then far less advanced) reproductive technologies—some successful, some not. An adoptive father (that is, someone for whom reproductive technologies were unsuccessful) was quoted as saying that he had wanted to try absolutely everything they could before adopting… and once they had done that, then he was willing to adopt.

The implication came through loud and clear: for him, as for a vast majority of parents, adoption is <gasp> second choice. On the one hand, I found it sort of refreshing that he was so honest. On the other, I thought of the perky adoption slogans that I grew up with and in my characteristic (mostly private) black humor I thought, “I wonder if that’s what he’ll tell his adopted child: We did everything else possible before we agreed to adopt you.

Of course it was a rhetorical question. But there was something there to explore and share.

(more…)

Adoption Issues & Me: It Began 25 Years Ago

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Adoption Insight by Marcy Axness, PhD | Parenting for Peace

Adoption is cool again. Talking about adoption, I mean. Adoption issues. And writing about adoption issues. Speaking the truth about adoption. So in this, the 25th anniversary of my baptism into the world of adoption reform, I’m circling back to do it again in this new century.

The most interesting part of it now, at least for me, about revisiting and reissuing my articles? It’s that I bring (what’s called in the research world) a longitudinal perspective to the adoption issues I once wrote about so prolifically. In English, that means simply due to the fact that I’ve continued to live with and navigate adoption issues over the years since first plumbing them in my writing and speaking, I have gained a perspective that only comes with the passage of time and living life with abiding curiosity (plus intermittent bouts of therapy, natch). (more…)

Staying Connected After Birth

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Postpartum-Mama-Baby-Sleep

My life explorations as an adopted person and my studies of the foundations of human wellbeing have consistently turned up this fact: a key element of health is the experience of and capacity for connection.

Birth presents a unique, unrepeatable opportunity to foster connection. It is also important to understand the human costs when a mother and newborn cannot stay connected after birth — whether it is due to adoption, NICU confinement, health issues in the mother, or other circumstances requiring they be separated.

This is not about guilt or blame, but the empowerment that comes with understanding what happens with neonatal separation… and more importantly, what you can do to protect it and how you can help your baby heal when connection must be disrupted. {Read the rest of this post at mothering.com}

 

Image:
footloosiety,
Flickr | Creative Commons

Adoptive Parents in the Delivery Room?

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

As many of you may know, my roots are in the world of adoption: I myself was adopted, and throughout the 1990s I was a leading  speaker and writer on the psycho-social issues involved in adoption. I am still one of the few experts in the world on the primal issues in adoption — relating to an adoptee’s pre-verbal, pre-cognitive experiences, including those in the womb, at birth, and in the early days postpartum.

Nancy Verrier rocked the adoption world in 1993 when she published The Primal Wound, which proposes: “Many doctors and psychologists now understand that bonding doesn’t begin at birth, but is a continuum of physiological, psychological, and spiritual events which begin in utero and continue throughout the postnatal bonding period. When this natural evolution is interrupted by a postnatal separation from the biological mother, the resultant experience of abandonment and loss is indelibly imprinted upon the unconscious minds of these children, causing that which I call the primal wound.”

Nancy brought three important credentials to the table:  she was a psychotherapist who had worked with many adopted people wrestling with similar constellations of social and emotional difficulties; she was a scholar who had extensively studied the literature on attachment, separation and loss; and she was the mother of two daughters — one biological and one adopted. The insights she found at the intersection of those learning streams comprised her landmark book.

A Personal Journey

Bee&BabyMI have always been open about sharing that at the heart of everything I teach and the tools I use in parent coaching, beats my own raw and ragged story. Finding Nancy’s book was an important moment in my own healing journey, and it also prompted me to investigate the field of prenatal psychology. It didn’t take long to recognize that many of the issues Nancy wrote about — intimacy problems, separation anxieties, self-esteem issues — weren’t the exclusive province of adoptees, far from it!

So just about ten years into a robust speaking and writing career within the adoption field, I earned my PhD in Early Human Development, with a specialization in Prenatal Development. These were universal issues and I wanted to illuminate them more universally!

But what to do with a trove of writing on adoption topics?? And in particular, an exclusive, extensive conversation I had had with Nancy (who by then had become a close colleague) but never really published anywhere? That was about the time when magazines were on the wane and the internet was ascending… but the internet was like the Wild Wild West and one could emerge pretty bruised when engaging in one of the last remaining taboos in our culture — honest talk about adoption.

Dawn Davenport of “Creating a Family” had reached out to me a couple years ago after reading an article I’d written about the primal wound. She found my explanation / interpretation to be most helpful, and invited me to do a radio interview. So I thought of Dawn and her site as a place to entrust my 2-part conversation with Nancy, as well as a round-up of responses to Nancy’s (radical, one could say) ideas from a handful of adoptive parents, birth parents and adoption professionals I respect.

Dawn re-ordered the sequence of topics so as to come right outta the gate with the incendiary question, “Should adoptive parents be in the delivery room?” Her readers aren’t shy with their opinions — see what YOU think!

Should Adoptive Parents be in the Delivery Room?

 

 

My Three Mothers: An Appreciation

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

I had three mothers and I needed them all. I’m dedicating this Mother’s Day reflection to all you mamas out there who fill so many roles and wear so many hats in meeting your children’s needs — and you’re  just one mother! You are masters of the bob-and-weave, performing complex multi-task maneuvering to cover the many bases required of moms.

My three mothers divvied up the task, though certainly not by design. It just sorta worked out that way.

Liz, My Birthmother

LizSmokingThroughout my childhood, I was matter-of-fact about the idea of having another mother out there somewhere. I remember fantasizing only once or twice that she was really one of my mother’s friends, someone I’d known all along. When my father asked me, soon after my mother died, if I wanted to find my birthmother, my interest blossomed from its dormancy.

Since mine was an independent, open adoption (one of the first ever), there was virtually no “search” required.  My birthmother’s name was right there in the San Francisco white pages. I don’t really remember what Liz and I talked about during that first phone call. I was floating through an unreal place, and our mundane chit-chat felt surreal in juxtaposition. The bottom line was the setting of our blind date. {Read on at mothering.com}

 

On My Birthday…How Adoption is Unique

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Liz's last birthdayAs an adopted person, my birthday this week brings thoughts about my somewhat complicated entry into this world, thoughts about some ways that adoption is unique.

Before getting my degree and writing Parenting for Peace, my previous body of work explored the psychological and social issues in adoption. Understanding how adoption is unique can help bring healing and wholeness to everyone involved. {Read more at mothering.com}

 

Staying Connected After Birth: A Peaceful Beginning

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Postpartum-Mama-Baby-Sleep

My life explorations as an adopted person and my studies of the foundations of human wellbeing have consistently turned up a key element of health: the experience of and capacity for connection. Birth presents us a momentous opportunity to foster connection. It is also important to understand the costs of not staying connected after birth — whether it is due to adoption, NICU confinement, health issues in the mother, or other circumstances preventing mother-newborn connectedness. This is not about guilt or blame, but the empowerment that comes with understanding what happens with neonatal separation. {Read the rest of this post at mothering.com}